Sunday, September 24, 2017


Movie Name: Frida
Year of Release: 2002
Director: Julie Taymor
Stars: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, Mia Maestro, Valeria Golino, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd, Roger Rees, Diego Luna, Saffron Burrows, Antonio Banderas, Roberto Medina
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Celebrated theater director (and costume designer) Julie Taymor followed her feature debut, "Titus", with the passion project from Salma Hayek, a biopic of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The film focuses on the story of Frida, who at the age of 18 is involved in a dramatic car accident, which leaves her with physical problems for the rest of her life. While recovering from her accident, her father gets her a canvas, which prompts her to start painting. The film also details her convoluted relationship with Diego Rivera, both embracing a somewhat open relationship, one that sees Frida getting involved with both men and women. Following a notorious affair with Leon Trotsky, the couple divorces, though they both remain in each other's lives. The film tracks the history of Frida's final days with her health problems and relationship with Diego.
"Frida" is a film that became a reality due to the passion of lead actress Salma Hayek, who also involved Edward Norton as a screenwriter during the development phase. The film is not a typical biopic, focusing on vignettes that define the life of the artist. It's a film that lives from the construction and establishment of a mood, an ambiance, and not from a chronological perspective of  a biopic (those would be the cases of Richard Attenborough's "Ghandi" and "Chaplin" for instance). The film and the director, try to capture the allure of the artist's personality, and her relationships with different lovers and political figures. While the film is successful in showcasing the strong personality of Frida, it falters when flushing out the personalities of the ones she interacts with - most of these personas are reduced to stereotypes or one dimensional characters. The film features two great performances from Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina (the latter who is systematically impeccable in every single role he tackles), and the cinematography from Rodrigo Prieto is stunning (as is the score from Elliot Goldenthal). An interesting film from an interesting director.